a clue from the past. newly-released documents shed light on a meeting between japan and china nearly 40 years ago. it is what these leaders did not talk about that's triggering debate. >> a territorial tug of war between japan and china has taken another turn involving the senkaku islands in the eastern china sea. japan says the islands are part of its territory. china also claims sovereignty over them. newly declassified documents further support japan's position. they show the former chinese premier, zhou enlai i avoided discussions
during an important meeting nearly four decades ago. the japanese foreign ministry released 15 files on thursday. they detailed diplomatic ties exchange from 1955 to 1973. and they include discussions between then-prime minister kaku tanaka and premier zhou. the leaders met in september of 1972 in beijing to sign a joint statement declaring the normalization of diplomatic ties. at one point during the four days of talks tanaka abruptly asked zhou for his opinion on the territorial dispute over the senkaku islands. zhou said he didn't want to talk about it at this time. the chinese premier said the islands have become an issue because of oil. if there is no oil, he said, there would be in interest. then he tried to change the subject. an expert on japan/china political relations says the documents implied the chinese government abandoned the sovereignty over the senkakus.
>> translator: it is unacceptable in terms of international law for china to lay a claim of territory it had not discussed during the talks to normalize diplomatic ties. >> japan says the claim on the senkaku islands dates back a century. the foreign ministry says government workers first started surveying the islands in 1885. it says the survey show the territory was uninhabited and not under chinese control. then in 1895 the government made the senkaku part of japan. the foreign ministry says it was not until the 1970s when china and taiwan raised questions of sovereignty. that's around the time they petroleum rights in the east chinese sea were discussed. kim jong un, the heir of the late korean leader, kim jong il, reportedly issued his first military order just before his father's death was announced. south korean officials say kim
jong-un said to stop exercises and return to their bases short before noon on december 19th. the north korea military was conducting annual drills on that day. around 8:30 a.m. two short-range missiles were launched to the sea of japan from a base on north korea's eastern coast. the military canceled another test launch scheduled for the afternoon and soldiers returned to their bases after kim jong-un's order was issued. south korea military officials concluded there was no connection between the missile launch in the morning and the late north korean leader's death. kim jong-un was appointed four-star general in december september 2010. south korean government officials view kim's order as a concrete sn he has complete control over the military, an indication he's poised to firmly become the military's top commander. south korea's top nuclear envoy is visiting china to discuss resumption of the
stalled six-party talks on the north's nuclear program. he arrived in beijing on thursday on a two-day trip to china. he is expected to meet the country's top nuclear envoy, wu dawei, who chairs the talks. the two sides are expected to discuss a possible impact of kim jong il's death on the six-party negotiations. they're also likely to exchange views on how the new leadership under the heir, kim jong un is likely to handle the nuclear issue. the six-party talks have been stalled for three years, but bilateral discussions have continued between the two koreas and between the north and the united states. as recently as a few days before kim jong il's death, a u.s. envoy met with north korean officials in beijing to discuss a possible resumption of food aid. the meeting raised hopes that renewed u.s. assistance may bring the countries closer together on the nuclear issue. south korea's government is not sending official condolences to north korea over kim's death.
but it is not stopping private groups and citizens from doing that. it's a sign that president lee myung bak is softening his country's stance on the north. another sign he says he has no intention of being hostile toward his neighbor. nhk world's susumu kojima reports from seoul. >> reporter: president lee myung bak met thursday with key members of his ruling party and opposition. he explained how his government has responded to the death of kim so far. lee said he's willing to soften south korea's stance toward the north. that marks something of a change. lee's government has taken a tough approach on relations with the north. especially since the sinking of a south korean ship and the shelling of a south korean island last year. kim's death puts the lee administration on alert.
but also showed it's ability to be flexible. earlier this week, the government announced it will not send an official condolence delegation to north korea. but it's not stopping private organizations and civilians from reaching out. south korea did not permit official visits or expressions of condolence when kim jong il's father and predecessor, kim il sung died 17 years ago. professor koyu fun of south korean university says they see kim's death as a chance to reestablish inter-korean relations. >> translator: as his term for president approaches its end, he doesn't want to be remembered as making the north/south
relationship worse than ever. >> the professor also says the way china and the united states deal with north korea will affect south korean policy. >> translator: while those countries are trying to increase their influence on north korea during this transition of power, it is possible that the lee government might be left behind. so i think that the south korean government will actively engage with the north. >> president lee myung bak will travel next year to china, the key country in relation with the north. he will discuss how to open a dialogue with the new north korean regime. the way he handles the succession of kim jong un will be an important test of south korean diplomacy. susumu kojima, nhk world, seoul. a series of bombings in baghdad on thursday morning left at least 63 people dead and 185 injured. this is the first major attack on the iraqi capital since the
u.s. troop withdrawal. police say a car bomb exploded in front of a building that houses government offices, killing 13 people and injuring 36. police say there were at least 13 other explosions in baghdad and they described them as coordinated attacks. the iraqi military and police have been on high alert for terrorist attacks since u.s. troops pulled out of the country on december 18th. there are fears that sectarian confrontations could intensify after the judicial authorities leveled terrorist charges as the sunni vice president. a political rival of shiia prime minister, al maliki. toyota motor project as strong recovery from the march disaster and the floods in thailand. for the next fiscal year starting in april, it forecasts production and sales at record high levels. the automaker released its plan for 2012 that estimates a 24% increase in production from this year. it says output will expand to over 8.6 million units.
the figure includes more than 5.2 million vehicles to be made overseas. the projection is based on expected growth and demand after the march disaster. strong sales in southeast asia and other emerging economies, in the launch of a new model such as hybrid compact cars. toyota says global sales will grow 20% to a record high level of about 8.5 million units. it says half the sales will come from emerging markets. meanwhile, japanese car maker, honda, will start exporting to canada compact cars made in its chinese factory next year. the move comes as the automaker battles to stay competitive despite the record high yen. honda plans to ship about 6,000 units of its popular model annually to canada. it will cease exporting the same model of cars from its japanese plants. the cars will be manufactured in china's guangdong province. this is the first time cars from
honda's chinese plants will reach the north american market. here are some of the other news stories for this hour. we begin with a survey of the damage from the recent floods in thailand. thailand's ayutthaya ruins were largely spared by the floods that swamped the area for more than a month. unesco began a survey of the site in november. a japanese team found some damage but says it was not caused by the flooding. the team recommends drawing up a plan to protect the ruins from future disasters. europe's highest court has backed eu law that requires airlines operating in the region to reduce their carbon emissions. u.s. and canadian airlines challenged the plan. the law requires all firms in the eu to buy permits under the region's emissions trading system. if they exceed allotted quota. the restrictions will take effect on january 1st. the paris-based reporters
without borders says at least 66 journalists were killed in 2011, nine more than last year. the deadliest country for journalists was pakistan. 10 journalists were killed there, many by militants. 11 reporters died covering the arab spring uprisings in the middle east. 1,044 journalists were arrested or detained nearly double from st year's figure. nuclear experts in japan are busy plotting out their next steps in the clean-up of the fukushima daiichi nuclear power plant. the operator says all the damaged reactors are now in state of cold shutdown. spokesperson for the tokyo electric power company says temperatures at the bottom of the reactors are hovering between 30 to 60 degrees celsius. they've dropped well below the 100-degree threshold require ford cold shutdown and they say radioactive substances emitted
from the plant have been significantly reduced. still, nuclear experts say they don't fully understand what's going on inside. and they say that people at tepco don't know, either. on tonight's "nuclear watch's" nhk world's commentator noriyuki mizuno looks at some of the relations between the government and tepco. our conversation was in japanese with simultaneous interpretation. >> it does seem as if the plant is no longer in the dangerous state it was in immediately after the accident. it appears as if things have calmed down a great deal, but there is still much instability. the power plant is not yet completely safe. and i question whether it can be said that the accident has been contained. the most important thing to find out right now is the temperature of the molten fuel and the cooling water. at reactor number one, however, they believe that most of the molten fuel has fallen to the bottom of the containment vessel
where there is no thermometer. the amount of water has not been measured accurately with a water gauge and has only been guessed. some of the molten fuel could be exposed from the water. as for reactor number two in november, they suspected that the plant had gone critical again with continuous nuclear fission occurring. that incident underscored how little is known about the state of the molten fuel still. so it's hard to say that it's safe. when criticality was suspected, a gas detector recently added to the inside of the containment vessel was used to verify that criticality had not occurred. if the fuel rods are to melt again, then radioactive substances and radioactive gas would be released. so the containment vessel's gas detector is effective in identifying whether an anomaly has occurred. reactors number one and two have gas detectors installed.
but at reactor number three, the radiation level is too high and no detector has been added. the reactor building must be decontaminated so that a gas detector can be installed as soon as possible. as for the all-important cooling system, there have been several incidents of contaminated water leaking this month with some of it reaching the ocean. the system is temporary, as it uses nonrobust hoses. it is imperative that they switch to a proper stainless steel cooling system to speed up the process of making the nuclear power plant safe. working on three nuclear reactors and the containment vessel to remove the melted-down fuel and finally decommission the reactors is a huge challenge, which has never been experienced before. the first major challenge is to fill water in order to shield the powerful radiation, they need to fill the reactor and containment vessel with water. but the containment vessel has
holes, which need to be plugged. the area has high radiation levels making it impossible for people to work, whether radiation-resistant robot can be developed is key. an even more challenging task is the removal of the fuel. a remote-controlled robotic arm will be needed. the 1979 three mile island nuclear reactor accidents in the u.s. offers some hints. this image shows a portion of the molten fuel that was removed from three mile island, provided to japan from the u.s. for research purposes. at that time, a drill was used to gouge and remove the fuel. in order to understand what types of removal devices to develop, this fuel should be examined closely. to identify how hard it is for example. however, a lot of the technology will be developed for the first time in the world.
there's a limit to what japan can do alone. japan should call on the world for cooperation and engage the iaea in an international effort to advance this work. >> "newsline" is the place to turn to for the latest on japan post march 11th. we have two segments offering two unique perspectives on the fallout from the earthquake and tsunami. "nuclear watch" brings you insight and information on the impact of the fukushima daiichi crisis. and "the road ahead" examines japan's efforts to recover and rebuild. don't miss "nuclear watch" and "the road ahead" on "newsline." next we go to pachari raksawong in bangkok to find out what's going on in the region. >> in the southern philippines, suffering continues in areas devastated by flash floods following a tropical storm almost a week ago. more than 1,000 people have so
far been confirmed dead. help is finally reaching those in need, but the united nations is calling for a greater response from the international community. local authorities say the death toll had reached 1,010 people as of thursday, with 51 still missing. the storm swept away countless homes on the southern island of mindinao, more than 640,000 people have been affected. they face additional threats, including shortages of food and medical supplies. meanwhile, international donations are arriving in the disaster zone. the japanese government has provided aid supplies worth nearly $320,000, including mattresses and generators. other governments including malaysia and germany also made contributions. >> this items are going to be of big relief to the victims.
this solidarity is very much appreciated. >> the head of u.n. relief operations called on the international community to provide almost $29 million more assistance in order to step up the response to the humanitarian emergency. turning now to cambodia. the country has reached a milestone along its long journey of recovery. after decades of war and turmoil, cambodia's legal system was left in tatters. but now, at last, the country is established a new civil code that will be an important pillar to support its long-term economic development. nhk world's toshiyuki terazawa reports from phnom penh. >> reporter: wednesday was historic for cambodia, as the country enacted its new civil code. the process took 12 years and was supported by experts from
japan. >> translator: the announcement of the official enactment of this civil code will show all sectors, both public and private. >> the government of japan has been providing cooperation to protect the rights of the cambodian people. and to promote sound economic development. >> reporter: its almost 60 years since cambodia gained independence in 1953. in its early years, the country did have penal and civil codes. but in the late 1970s, the pol pot regime pushed a radical agen of social reform. regular systems were abolished. even after the civil war ended and a new constitution was
established, there remained no legal code. cambodia sought the support of the international community to set up a new system of laws. under the pol pot regime, many lawyers and attorneys were killed. intellectuals were denounced as enemies of reform, brainwashed by foreign ideas. building a new legal system means more than writing a book of rules. training experts who understand law and can execute it is also essential. in 2009, a new criminal code was established with the help of france. cambodia's advancing economy made establishing a civil code even more urgent. when foreign companies in the country run into trouble, they often had to settle matters out of court or rely on old laws
already abolished. the new legal code is a milestone in cambodia's development. the country at last has a chance to solve its own problems of human rights and civil affairs. if it succeeds in following the letter of its new laws, then trust should follow at home and abroad. toshiyuki terazawa, nhk world, phnom penh. and that will conclude our bulletin. i'm pachari raksawong in bangkok. >> thanks, pachari. time to check on some of the stories we've gathered from broadcasters around asia. we're going to begin tonight with this item sent by mcot, thailand. thailand and cambodia have agreed to set up a joint panel to oversee the troop withdrawal from their disputed border, complying with the order of the international court of justice. the decision was reached after the two nations defense
ministers met in phnom penh on wednesday. they agreed to allow international observers to supervise the pullout. thailand and cambodia have been involved in skirmishes since a world heritage site was established by unesco. three years ago. malaysian prime minister unveiled the country's new bank notes in kuala lumpur on wednesday. the five denominations have enhanced security features and include elements of malaysia's national treasures, culture and heritage. the 20 ringgit bill is being reintroduced. the central bank is reissuing three special bank notes to mark the occasion. iranians celebrated the longest night of the year on wednesday. on yaoga night family and friends get together to enjoy eating pomegranates, watermelons and nuts, they listen to ancient tales and read poems and recite versions of the koran.
other ways to mark the winter solstice include lighting bonfires and performing acts of charity. mai shoji is up next with weather. time to check out our weather. let's start to talk about japan, what's going to be happening for our holiday weekend. we have a very potent weather pattern here just along the western seaboard, especially in the western half of japan and northern japan. we're going to be seeing a lot of precipitation. this could descend down towards northern kyushu. you may be seeing blowing snow dow down in the south. pacific side looking very dry. we're talking about snowfall that could be piling up to 60 centimeters anywhere you see that bright pink. in tohoku region. also, 50 centimeters or more wherever you see this purple.
also, that's going to be lots of white stuff piling up in much of northern japan, even just down towards the south. 20 to 40 centimeters could be seen. we're talking about very strong winds too. blowing snow is what we're going to be concerned of as well as high waves, which could reach up to five to seven meters high wherever you see this yellow frame. we're also talking about avalanche risk, lightning strikes. it's not going to be a very pleasant white christmas, so to say, into our friday evening. tokyo staying sunny. 8 degrees on friday high. seoul at minus two degrees. that's going to be fairly chilly there. biting cold in ulan bator at minus 18 for the high. the low is actually minus 27. staying in the low 30s in the tropics. let's move on to north america and talk about that storm system that just passes through off the coast.
that's going to be bringing a little break to the northeast, especially new england. however, another round of this system will be moving into those areas in towards the end of the week. this is where we're going to be seeing severe weather conditions. we're talking about isolated tornados even touching down just around alabama, mississippi, northern georgia area. gusts are going to be strong reaching up to 100 kilometers per hour. green is where we're going to be seeing rain precipitation. there's moist air, warm air, that will be pulling in. that's all going to be rain, rather than snow. up in the mountains and in the north, we're going to be looking at snow conditions. this is where the dark shade is. that's going to be sagging down towards new mexico from colorado. in the higher elevations, snow will be piling up. about 15 centimeters in some places. gusts are going to be strong around four corners as well as southern california. gusts could reach up to 100 kilometers per hour, which has risk of damaging trees and power lines in some areas. los angeles at 17 degrees
temperature-wise. thursday high for denver, take a look at that. minus 7 degrees. well below average. well above average here in atlanta at 22 degrees. let's head over to europe and talk about what's going to be happening here. the atlantic system will be approaching northern british isles, disturbing those areas. that win be rain and sleet, instead of snow. snow will be piling up here in norway, especially in the coastal areas. gusts could be strong there as well. we're talking about snow here in the alpine region as well. we're going to be very concerned of this one. heavy snowfall in the higher elevations just around balkans and extending toward turkey. we may see thunderstorms popping up there as well in the next 24. taking a look at temperatures. moscow, minus 4. warsaw and kiev both at minus 1. iberian peninsula looking very warm, lisbon staying at 16 degrees. here's our extended forecast.